Mayor Eric Adams ended the Covid-19 vaccine mandate for city workers and said fired workers can reapply for their old jobs. But he is fighting demands from the NYPD and FDNY unions to give the fired workers back for the year and ahalf they could not work due to the mandate.
The Covid vaccine became optional effective February 10th for employees of the city and the Department of Education.
“City workers stepped up tremendously throughout the pandemic,” said Mayor Adams in a statement released February 6th. “From our health care frontline workers and first responders who saved lives, to the city employees who kept our streets clean, our schools open, and our streets safe, we owe city workers a debt of gratitude for their service during New York City’s darkest days.”
“With more than 96 percent of city workers and more than 80 percent of New Yorkers having received their primary COVID-19 series and more tools readily available to keep us healthy, this is the right moment for this decision. I continue to urge every New Yorker to get vaccinated, get boosted, and take the necessary steps to protect themselves and those around them from COVID-19.”
The restriction is also loosened on visitors to DOE buildings, who will no longer be required to demonstrate proof of vaccination.”Vaccines and boosters are the best way to keep ourselves and our school communities safe,” said a spokesperson for the United Federation of Teachers. “This change in policy applies the same rules for municipal workers that have already been in effect for private sector employees in New York City. We are working with the DOE to ensure the policy change is implemented in accordance with our contract.”
Approximately 1,780 former city employees were previously terminated for failing to submit proof of vaccination.
Police and Firefighter unions say the firings were illegal and are fighting in court to get back pay for their axed workers.
“We’re suing to have back pay for all the members put on leave without pay,” said Uniformed Fire Officers Association President Jmes McCarthy. One of the litigations is that it was illegal, it was a punishment and there weren’t given due process,” he said.
According to the statement released by Mayor Adams’ office, these employees will not be guaranteed a return to their positions. However, the statement says they will be able to reapply for positions with their former agencies through existing city protocols.